Although we now drive safer cars on safer roads, the fact remains that most car accidents are the result of human error. After decades of public safety campaigns and drivers’ education, most of us consider ourselves safe drivers. Even so, the Louisiana Department of Transportation & Development Traffic Safety Office last year reported 46,400 injury crashes and 728 vehicle fatalities on Louisiana roadways.
Whether you’re teaching a teen new to driving, or you’ve been behind the wheel for decades, it’s a good idea to review some basic rules for safe driving. The attorneys at deGravelles & Palmintier offer these five helpful driving tips to help you get where you want to go, unharmed.
Expect the unexpected.
You could be driving the speed limit and obeying all traffic rules when someone else crashes into you. Stay alert for unpredictable lane changes, sudden stops, turns without signals, swerving, tailgating and every other bad driving behavior imaginable. Always use caution when changing lanes. Cutting in front of someone, changing lanes too fast or not using your signals may cause an accident or upset other drivers.
Don’t follow too closely
Drivers need enough time to react if the car in front of them makes a sudden turn or stop. It can be difficult to estimate distances while driving, so most experts recommend a three-second rule. Find a stationary object on the side of the road. When the car ahead of you passes it, start counting seconds. At least three seconds should pass before your own car passes the same object.
Check your mirrors.
If your mirrors aren’t adjusted correctly, a blind spot appears. In order to eliminate blind spots, adjust your sideview mirrors so that you can’t see your own car in them. The rearview mirror must be set so that you can see the back window of your car entirely. When adjusting the mirrors, you should be sitting in your normal driving position.
Watch the trucks.
Drivers of taller vehicles see road situations much more clearly. If they start to change lanes all at once, it’s likely that they saw a car accident or a different kind of roadblock. Follow suit and change lanes, too.
Driving safely requires serious concentration. Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of auto accidents for drivers of all ages. It isn’t just cell phones that cause distractions. Eating, applying makeup, fiddling with electronic devices or interacting with passengers also diverts a driver’s attention in potentially deadly ways.